Fun ideas for long road trips with your kids
Looking for fun ideas for long road trips to keep your kids occupied? But your kids don’t have a phone or an iPad? Maybe they’re too young for a tablet or you just simply can’t afford it.
Do you remember playing games during road trips in the family car when you were young? There were no game pieces needed, and no electronics required. They were a great way to keep us entertained, get the family talking, and even the driver could get involved.
Half of the fun of a long-distance trip is the journey and we don’t want our kids to miss out on these experiences. One of the biggest challenges on a road trip with kids is keeping them entertained on long driving days.
Apparently, there is only so much scenery a child can take.
If you want to bust boredom in the car and incorporate some of these fun ideas for long road trips, keep reading.
Window Paint Your Car
Let your kids have fun writing on the car windows with window paint. Write fun road trip quotes like, ‘Look at life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.’
Or they could write the number of hours you’ve been traveling or just the opposite, a countdown to how long it will be to your next destination.
Check out these 12 colors for decorating windows that are easy to clean up as well as safe and non-toxic.
Post-it Note Word Game
Ask the people in the front seats to call out random words from road signs, and write one on each post-it note, then stick them to the inside of your window.
The challenge is to create a cohesive sentence by rearranging them.
Grab a paper napkin from restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and tourist attractions you stop at then ask a cashier, waitress, bell-hop, etc. to give their autograph.
You can add other details like the town, state, and date. Scrapbook the napkins in order, and they’ll tell the story of all the places you visited!
Plus, you just might have made someone’s day.
Take a Selfie With “Now entering ______” State Signs
Please make sure to be careful when pulling over to the side of the road. And make sure to obey all traffic laws.
Using your post-it notes, leave corny jokes all over your hotel room for the housekeepers to find.
Such as, A clean house is a sign of no Internet connection.
Take Selfies with a Celeb
Bring your action figure/stuffed animal across the states, posting selfies with it at landmarks along the way!
My husband and I found a kid’s elephant squeaky toy in a restaurant when on a one-night getaway. This elephant, Poca Elephanté is his name, now comes with us on every trip we go on.
He has become quit the celebrity. Now, if we go on a trip with other people, they ask us if Poca will be coming too.
There are so many different fun ideas for long road trips! Even the animals want to come along.
For those who don’t know this game, one person in the car thinks of a person, place, or animal. Then everyone else can only ask 20 yes or no questions to figure out what they are thinking of. For example: Is it cold? Is it colorful? Is it human?
Actually, limiting to 20 questions is up to you. But if you want to keep score, if no one guessed in the 20 questions then that person gets a point.
One person decides on a category, for example: sports or types of cereal. Then each person takes a turn naming something in that category until you can’t think of anymore. The last person to name something wins.
This can be a fun game if you come up with a category that everyone knows and it goes on for a while.
3 Truths and a Lie
Simply take turns naming 3 truths and a lie about yourself. The rest of the players have to figure out which statement is the lie.
The first time I played this game was actually at a bachelorette party. It’s also a great icebreaker game to get to know everyone.
This can be a fun way to share interesting facts with your kids or simply share stories from your past.
The goal of the Fun Facts Game is to get to know your family members even better by guessing some funny facts about them.
Begin by asking each member of the family to write an unusual ‘fun fact’ about themselves on a small piece of paper, fold it up and place it into a bag. A leader then picks a fact out of the bag and reads it out loud to the players.
Players take turns guessing who the ‘fun fact’ belongs to, and the player with the most amusing or funny facts wins! Repeat as many times as you like.
Parents, if you don’t know by now…”challenges” are all the rage. Kids are obsessed with watching and doing them. Now many challenges can’t be done in the car. BUT if you’re a little creative, challenges can be part of your road trip activities for your older kids.
Such as the Pringles Challenge. Buy different flavors of Pringles, one person chooses the flavor, everybody tries them, then each person tries to guess which flavor it is. Keep track of points if you wish.
For the Celebrities Game, players write the names of five celebrities on slips of paper, fold them up and place into a bag. A person is selected to pick celebrity names out of the bag and give clues.
Each player then has one minute to guess as many celebrity names as possible before time runs out. Play three rounds of the game and give one point for every celebrity name guessed. The player with the most points wins.
There are so many classic fun ideas for long road trips out there. Such as the following:
An absolute classic. The way Slug bug works is everyone watches for Volkswagen Beetles. The classic version of the game (siblings will remember this) has you yell “slug bug” as soon as you see one and punch your opponent’s arm.
A friendlier version has you thump the ceiling of the car or lightly punch your opponent’s arm. My family is not so friendly, especially my Grandma. Love her, but did not like playing the game with her. (She always seemed to win)
Everyone playing the game must be present in order for the sighting to count. Whoever gets in the most thumps during the trip wins.
The way I Spy works is you take turns saying, “I spy with my little eye…____” and then you fill in the blank with whatever you spot.
For example, you might say, “I spy with my little eye…something blue.” Then the others in the car take turns to guess what the item is. The winner of the round is the next one to “spy”.
Another fun game is the Alphabet Game. Each person in the car works to spot each letter in the alphabet in order. Each person starts with “A”, then “B”, and so on, so each person will have to go through the whole alphabet.
Multiple people cannot use the same object for their letter, so the first to spot it and say it out loud gets the letter. The word doesn’t have to start with the letter you’re searching for, it just has to contain it.
You cannot use one object for multiple letters (ex.: “about” for both the letters A and B) and you cannot use anything in or on the car. The first person to work their way through the alphabet wins.
License Plate Game
For this one, all you have to do is keep an eye out for the license plates of passing cars or cars in the parking lots of the places you stop.
You can work together or individually to spot license plates from different states. If you’re on a trip across the country, this can be so much fun. Work to spot as many states as you can.
Tell a Story
Go around the car telling a story. Each person adds a few words or sentences at a time; You can decide the rules before you start.
It can be a scary story or a fairy tale that quickly turns silly! This can go on as long as your kids stay interested.
Another fun idea for long road trips game is to play What’s Better. The way it works is that you ask what’s better between two items and the child answers. You then ask what’s better between the winner of the first question and another item.
For example, you might ask what’s better? Dogs or cats. If the kids answer dogs, you would then ask what’s better? Dogs or ice cream? And so on and so on.
This is a fun family game that can go on for hours!
Car Cricket or Car Baseball (whichever you prefer)
Each person takes a turn to ‘bat’ and score runs. Runs are scored by counting vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
Cars earn one point, cars with a trailer 2 points, trucks or buses 4 points, etc. The player continues to score until a red car goes by, then they are out.
The player with the most runs wins.
If you are looking for some fun ideas for long road trips with younger kids here are a few to try:
Create a Travel LEGO Case with a Lunchbox
Attach a LEGO board to the inside of a hinged container and fill it with LEGOs. However, be cautious with crabby kids throwing a fit. Don’t be surprised if you end up finding LEGOs everywhere. But having it in a contained box will help.
Make a Post-it Note Coloring Case
Create a post-it note coloring case out of a soap or travel first-aid kit container, These cases can be found at your local Target or Walmart stores. Just Place the post-it’s on one side and crayons on the other.
Help Younger Kids Learn the Alphabet
Instead of having them trace the letters, create an alphabet sticker binder.
Create an ‘I Spy’ Bottle
Fill a soda bottle with rice, small toys, beads, buttons, and other colorful objects. Then create a checklist to go along with the bottle so they can check it off once it’s been spied.
If you don’t want to make one, you can choose to purchase these bottles as well.
The Surprise Goodie Bags
Wrap little surprises for kids to open along the way. You can pick up little trinkets from the dollar store, coloring books, and snacks.
But they can’t open them until you get to a certain destination. It will keep them busy until the next stop.
Laminate a Map of Your Route
I understand that we now have Google Maps and other GPS systems out there but there is nothing wrong with showing your kids how to read a map.
With the laminated map, have them cross off cities you drive through. This will help eliminate the question of “Are we there yet?”.
Binder of Activities
There are a bunch of printables out there for kids to do. So, get a big binder and fill it with fun things to do, such as: coloring pages, scavenger hunt checklists, and bingo scoreboards.
Chalkboard for the Road
Either attach chalkboard paper or spray paint an old baking sheet with chalkboard paint and use as a portable chalkboard.
It pays off to prepare and find things for the kids to do in the car on a road trip. Plan some road trip activities for kids in advance to ease the inevitable boredom in the backseat.
We all know the easiest form of distraction is a cell phone or tablet for kids these days. But between technical problems, low battery life, and the agony of waiting your turn can sometimes feel like they are more problems than it solves.
Instead become an expert at finding other methods of car entertainment.
Get ready for your next road trip with your kids and stay sane. Maybe your traveling with your teen, read here on how to NOT lose your shit. Or you just want to know why we torcher ourselves and travel with our kids, read here.
Let’s get out and explore this great world! Ready to take a road trip in the USA? Check out these 20 plus ideas on where to road trip in the USA on where to go.